New York Yankees
Derek Jeter doesn't usually scoreboard watch, but it's almost unavoidable at Fenway Park.
"You can't help but see it," Jeter said.
The Yankees captain won't be the only one checking the scoreboard this week.
With Jeter & Co. 1 1/2 games behind Boston entering the opener of a three-game set at Fenway, the outcome of the next three games could have a huge affect on the AL East race.
If the Yankees want to win the division (and likely avoid facing nemesis Texas in the playoffs), they can't afford to falter in Fenway this week.
"It's like every time we go to Boston," Jeter said. "We're going to try to win some games. It's no different this time than it's been other times [this] season. We need to play well. They have a great team, everyone knows that. It's a challenge for us."
A challenge that the Yankees have mostly failed to meet this season; they will take the field Tuesday with a 2-10 record against the Red Sox in 2011.
The Yankees may get Jeter back Tuesday from a right knee cap bruise that has kept him out of the last two games, but it is unlikely they will have Alex Rodriguez (sprained left thumb) on the field for the opener. They may not have him for the entire series.
"I think it's really questionable," Joe Girardi said of A-Rod.
The Yanks will, however, have their ace -- CC Sabathia -- on the bump Tuesday, with Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett to follow.
Normally, having Sabathia on the mound is a good thing. But against Boston this year, Sabathia has been anything but ace-like. He is 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA against the Red Sox in four starts this season. He's allowed 33 hits and 20 earned runs in 25 innings.
"It’s somewhat surprising," said Girardi. "I thought two of the games he threw pretty well until the seventh inning. But it is somewhat surprising. We’ve seen him throw really good games against them. So I think he's due."
The Yankees had lost five of seven before reeling off two wins in Baltimore without Rodriguez and Jeter, which Girardi believes is a good sign heading into the Boston series.
"I like the way our guys responded," Girardi said.
Added Nick Swisher: "I think we're ready."